With just weeks to go until the publication of new rateable values for pubs, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is urging licensees to check their valuations when they appear on 30th September, and has published an online guide to help pubs navigate the process.
The BBPA is stressing the need for licensees to plan ahead, and make sure they have made the necessary financial preparations for next year. Businesses will be able to notify the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) of any obvious errors from September – and officially appeal to the VOA if there are any serious mistakes, under the Government’s ‘Check, Challenge and Appeal’ process, from April next year.
This is the first time the valuations have been amended since 1st April 2010. The VOA, with the help of five trade bodies, including the BBPA, has developed the 2017 Approved Guide to the process, which will be published shortly.
The BBPA has long campaigned for rates reform, as pubs foot 2.8 per cent of the total rates bill, despite having only 0.5 per cent of business turnover. Along with new increased costs through the Living Wage, Apprenticeship Levy and auto-enrolment for pensions, there is already considerable financial pressure on the industry.
The BBPA has therefore supported the revaluation, which will lead to a re-balancing of the burden within the sector and alleviate some pressure from pubs that have struggled since the last revaluation. It is however likely that some pubs will see an increase in their rateable value, particularly where the business has thrived since 2008. The BBPA will continue working to ensure that for pubs, any increases are mitigated as far as possible. Industry pressure has already seen reforms that will mean pubs with a rateable value of £12,000 pay no business rates at all.
In future, the BBPA would like to see more frequent revaluations of business rates, and is proposing a new self-assessment system for pubs, which would be both flexible, and reduce the administrative burdens of the system.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive comments:
“It is crucial that licensees stay well informed and keeps track of these changes, and raise concerns if they arise. Businesses that have thrived since 2008 should be aware that they could see an increase in business rates, and will need to be prepared. However, overall the revaluations should help the industry.”